“HKACT! ACT 1 BeHere”, an innovative Augmented Reality (AR) mobile app of #ddHKCommissionedWork, combines the past, the present and the future, presenting a virtual lens for visitors to create memories and share a moment. Designed by Japanese new media artist Masaki Fujihata and inspired by the 1940-70s Hong Kong, the digital public installation features around 40 sets of 3D AR figures, “re-presenting” these stories by actors in the studio and allowing audiences to view the old Hong Kong livelihood in their own mobile through the wonders of technology and design.
Created based on one and a half years of design research, oral history from local residents of Wan Chai and photos taken in the olden days, BeHere recreates Wan Chai coastline used to be along Queen's Road East during 1850s, connecting Wan Chai's attractions and public space from west to east: from Blue House, Stone Nullah Lane Garden, Wan Chai Gap Park, Old Wan Chai Post Office, Lee Tung Street, Tai Wong East Street Sitting-out Area, Lun Fat Street Sitting-out Area, Kwong Ming Street Children's Playground, Sun Street to Dominion Garden. Alongside the 3D AR works, guided tours are also open to all visitors to register online for more layered understanding of the neighborhood.The heartland of the Wai Chai district is jointly linked by two corridors of art and design - the exhibition of BeHere stretching east to west while #ddCreativePlacemaking’s stretching north to south. Together, they reinvent the past and future street life of Wan Chai, enhance connection among the community and encourage visitors exploring the district.
Masaki Fujihata is one of the pioneers of global new media art. He began his career working in video and digital imaging in the early 1980s. He was one of the first artists to use stereolithography, a technique in which a laser polymerises a liquid resin as it sweeps its surface.
His computer graphics work was much celebrated in the 1980s, before his interests shifted to creating 3D sculptures from data using 3D printing, as in his CNC-routed Geometric Love (1987), the stereolithographic Forbidden Fruits (1989), and the world’s smallest sculptures made using the manufacturing techniques for integrated circuits.
In the mid-90s, Fujihata produced canonical pieces of what would later be called “interactive art,” including Removable Reality (1992), which used an infrared cordless phone, Impressing Velocity (1994), in which he used a laptop computer equipped with GPS to digitally map Mount Fuji, Beyond Pages (1995-1997) and the exploration of networking technologies with Global Interior Project (1995). His work problematizes everything from how we interact with interfaces to the ways we might communicate in virtual space.
More recently his primary concern has been to employ multimedia technology in order to examine the possibilities for communication within virtual spaces. In particular, his experiments with GPS technology beginning in 1992 takes a rather uncommon technical tack in gathering data, making for a meticulously composed and unexampled series of cyber-spacial creations that can only be called “the cinema of the future,” or “the shape of media to come.” His Field-work@Alsace (2003) compiled interviews about international borders. The musical piece Simultaneous Echoes (2009) was created in Northern Ireland. His Voices of Aliveness (2012), created in Nante, France and assembled the shouts of bicyclists in virtual space.
Fujihata has exhibited extensively throughout Japan and internationally, including at the 1983, 1984, 1996, and 2000 Siggraph conferences (USA), Ars Electronica (Linz), DEAF (Rotterdam), “CyberForum” (Lisbon), VEAF (Vancouver) and his work is part of the permanent collection of the ZKM (Karlsruhe).
His Global Interior Project #2 won the 1996 Golden NIKA Award, Voices of Aliveness won an Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in 2013, and Simultaneous Echoes received the 2010 Ministry of Education Award for Fine Arts.
He has had a distinguished academic career as Professor, Faculty of Environmental Information, Keio University, Japan (1990-1999), Professor, Department of Inter-Media, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts (1999-2006) and Professor and Director, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts (2005-2011). He has since been Guest Professor at the University of Paris VIII, Paris, France; Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan; and Art University, Linz, Austria. He is currently Guest Professor, Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University.
The “BeHere” project has involved a long period of research into the history of Hong Kong in the 1940s to 1970s and Wan Chai in particular. This research was not just into the selection of the images, but also what the images might actually say about life in Hong Kong over the course of this period. Part of the research included sharing sessions with elderly local residents in order to gather first-hand observations about life in Wan Chai and their insights into the selected images.
The BeHere project focused on individual people’s snapshots and images of daily life. The photographs were selected from archives in various libraries and private collections in Hong Kong and were used as a reference for considering the micro-narratives and scenarios.
A series of workshops were held at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong and School of Theatre and Entertainment Arts, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with students, shared resources and expertise from both schools, including technical support provided by the School of Creative Media, and contribution by the lighting, costume, props, make-up and hair style teams led by the Dean and management team of the School of Theatre and Entertainment Arts.
The final 3D figures were generated with Photogrammetry that was shot with 70 cameras in the studio. Actors of the photogrammetry were recruited through various paths – by open call, by invitation, support from local artists, student volunteers and the hire of professional actors.
The multiple 2D snapshots were reconstructed into 3D models through post-production processes. The 3D model data in cyberspace are then overlaid using Augmented Reality technology onto the real world which is captured by the camera of the device.
Chan Tsan For
Cheung Chung Man
Fung Yui Yin
Hui Kin Ming
Ina Guianela Abejero
Lam Sau Man
Lee Ying Chun
HK ACT! Curatorial Advisors